‘What’s God doing where you are?’
Delegates learnt about how to host an interactive listening workshop in their churches and Associations
The session was hosted by Carmel Murphy, a member of the Urban Expression team in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent. Carmel is leading a listening project commissioned by the Mission Forum in 2017 to find out more about where God is working across our Union.
The first stage of the project involved piloting a ‘listening tool kit’ across three Associations. The tool kit involved different ways of enabling people to share how their churches are doing well; and what they can be doing better.
As a result of the pilots, this tool kit has been honed in readiness for the next phase of the project.
Carmel shared some of this tool kit: the questions and ways responses can be gathered. It included:
Where do you see God at work? Think of one occasion recently when you have seen God at work and write it on a post-it. Around the room there are pages with different categories listed (eg among the marginalised, among children and youth, through prayer) Think about what you have written and stick your post-it on the category it falls into.
What is your favourite thing about your church? Write ONE on a post it and attach it below.
Which THREE things does your church do well? Use one yellow dot to indicate your first choice, one green dot to indicate your second choice, and one red dot to indicate your third choice from the options given
Do you feel connected to your local Baptist Association? Take ONE marble from the jar and place it in the pot which best represents your response. Yes/Sometimes/No
If you were asked to send a postcard to another church, what would you say? A short message of encouragement.
Those attending the session were invited to take part in the questions, consider if they could work in their church or Association setting, and offer their feedback.
Carmel (pictured), a community organiser, said, ‘The value of a listening project is to stop, and try and actively listen to each other. We don’t often start with where people are at.
'It’s about finding out the gifts in that community. There’s power in people and when we work together, we can do more.'
She spoke about the first stage of the Mission Forum-commissioned listening project, and its pilot in the three Associations. ‘It was really exciting! We found that people are connecting to their churches because they find fellowship.
‘We found that people absolutely loved to tell their stories.'
The listening project came about in an attempt to try and capture the various stories about the great things God is doing. ‘We are trying to find a way of holding those stories together – so we can celebrate those stories; challenge, and through doing that build vibrant spirit-led communities,’ said Carmel. ‘It will help us to celebrate, and direct our resources to gaps.’